COFFEE TALK: Visionaire magazine turns 25 this year. To celebrate, the luxury art and fashion publication has cemented its legacy with a book out this fall from Rizzoli. On Thursday morning, cofounders Cecilia Dean and James Kaliardos invited a group of editors to preview the hardcover at The Cadillac House, a newly opened event space on the ground floor of Cadillac’s Manhattan headquarters that will showcase rotating vehicle and art exhibitions, a café by Joe’s Coffee and a retail space for new designers conceived in partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Visionaire also teamed with the space to curate a sprawling, interactive art gallery, with a new exhibit opening every quarter. (Currently on view: a trippy, large-scale video installation by Geoffrey Lillemon.)
Over a casual breakfast, Dean and Kaliardos discussed how they met (as teenagers, when Kaliardos was enrolled at The New School’s Parsons School of Design and Dean was an up-and-coming model) and eventually launched their publication together with Stephen Gan — with a mix of young ambition and naiveté. What started as an experiment turned into a highly collectible publication that served as a creative outlet for artists including Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman, Karl Lagerfeld and many more. “What we realized, working in fashion, was that you met so many amazing photographers who had no place to show their own personal work,” Dean said. “I remember at the end of a fashion shoot, [models] would sometimes stay and do more photos. It would have nothing to do with the client — it would be for our own personal use, experimenting with light or movement.”
Added Kaliardos: “A lot of [artists] came to us very young, and they really experimented with Visionaire and used it as a playground to develop their own work. I think a lot of those people used us to get their frustrations out — so that they could shoot a ballgown for [another publication] and encompass all that fashion could be in that image — but then they would do some wonky thing for us, something really out of their comfort zone, which is exciting….We really wanted the book to celebrate this imagery.”
The book features 1,453 images from 65 of Visionaire’s past issues over two-and-a-half decades. “With the Rizzoli book, the idea was to reach a larger audience,” Dean said. “We wanted it to be a traditional coffee table book….It’s very easy, tangible, accessible, understandable and reasonably priced — everything that Visionaire isn’t.” The 472-page tome, which also features essays by Pierre Alexandre de Looz and Martin J. Solomon, will retail for $135.